Law and the Workplace
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H. Ren Morris

Ren Morris is an associate in the Labor & Employment Law Department and a member of the Firm’s Whistleblowing & Retaliation Group and COVID-19 Reduction-in-Force Taskforce.

Ren’s practice spans the life-cycle of the employment relationship, from counseling employers on compliance with ever-changing federal, state and local employment law to representing employers in all aspects of employment litigation, including claims of discrimination, harassment and retaliation, enforcement of restrictive covenants, and whistleblower retaliation and qui tam litigation. Ren represents clients in state and federal courts throughout the country as well as before the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the U.S. Department of Labor, the American Arbitration Association, the Illinois Human Rights Commission and various state and local administrative agencies.

Ren’s counseling practice guides clients through the intricacies of establishing and maintaining healthy, mutually-beneficial employment relationships. They regularly assist employers in conducting workplace investigations and updating workplace policies, handbooks and employment agreements.

A committed pro bono legal services provider, Ren regularly advocates for DACA recipients, asylum seekers, non-profit employers and those seeking equal access to public services.

Prior to joining Proskauer, Ren graduated cum laude from the Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law where they worked in the Bluhm Legal Clinic Center on Wrongful Convictions, served on the Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology and assisted in defending death eligible murder cases for the Mississippi Office of Capital Defense.

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December 31, 2020 Deadline Looms for Illinois Employers to Conduct Sexual Harassment Training

As we have previously noted, effective January 1, 2020, the Illinois Human Rights Act requires Illinois employers to provide employees with sexual harassment prevention training by December 31, 2020, and on at least an annual basis thereafter.  Such training must comport with the minimum requirements established by the Illinois Department of Human Rights’ (“IDHR”) model … Continue Reading

Seventh Circuit Clarifies Scope of Article III Standing Under Illinois BIPA

On November 17, 2020, the Seventh Circuit held that allegations that a defendant violated Section 15(a) of the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (“BIPA”), 740 ILCS § 14/1, et seq.—which requires an employer that collects biometric information from its employees to develop, publicly disclose and comply with a data-retention schedule and guidelines for permanent destruction … Continue Reading

UPDATE: Chicago City Council Introduces COVID-19 Anti-Retaliation Ordinance, Reflecting Growing Trend

The proposed Chicago COVID-19 Anti-Retaliation Ordinance (the “Ordinance”) that was the subject of our post on April 27, 2020, has now become law. The Ordinance prohibits Chicago employers from retaliating against employees for obeying a public health order requiring an employee to remain at home as a consequence of COVID-19.  This reflects a growing trend among … Continue Reading

Illinois May Soon Require “Essential Employers” to Provide PPE for Workers

The Illinois House of Representatives recently introduced House Bill 5769, which would create the Illinois Personal Protective Equipment Responsibility Act (the “Act”).  The Act would require “essential employers” to provide personal protective equipment (“PPE”) to both employees and independent contractors.  The Act defines an “essential employer” as an employer engaged in an “essential business” as … Continue Reading

Responding to COVID-19: Illinois Specific Considerations For Employers

The State of Illinois has taken strong measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Recognizing the impact of COVID-19 on the State of Illinois, on March 20, 2020, the Governor first issued Executive Order 2020-10 directing Illinois citizens to stay at home. The Governor has since issued Executive Orders 2020-32 and 2020-33 extending most of … Continue Reading

Chicago City Council Introduces COVID-19 Anti-Retaliation Ordinance, Reflecting Growing Trend

On April 22, 2020, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, with the backing of several Aldermen, introduced the COVID-19 Anti-Retaliation Ordinance (the “Ordinance”), which, if enacted, would prohibit Chicago employers from retaliating against employees for obeying a public health order requiring an employee to remain at home as a consequence of COVID-19.  This reflects a growing trend … Continue Reading

Cost-Saving Alternatives to Layoffs During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Due to the sudden economic turbulence resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, employers have been exploring ways to temporarily reduce operating costs.  Many employers are seeking alternatives to layoffs.  Such alternatives may include reductions in pay and hours of work, furloughs and shutdowns of operations, and work share programs.  The following identifies the legal and practical … Continue Reading

Illinois Bans Salary History Inquiries

On July 31, 2019, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed into law House Bill 834 (the “Bill”), which amends the Illinois Equal Pay Act of 2003 (“IEPA”) to prohibit employers from inquiring into a job applicant’s salary history.  The law becomes effective on September 29, 2019. Prohibition on Salary History Inquiries Illinois’s new ban on salary … Continue Reading

Illinois Legalizes Recreational Marijuana: Impact on Employers

Illinois will soon become the eleventh state to legalize the recreational use of marijuana.  On June 25, 2019, Governor Pritzker signed into effect House Bill 1438—the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act (“CRTA”).  The CRTA, which is set to take effect on January 1, 2020, leaves some open questions for employers, but there are a few … Continue Reading

Impactful Sexual Harassment Bill Passes Illinois Senate

On April 11, 2019, the Illinois state Senate voted to pass Senate Bill 1829, also known as the Workplace Transparency Act (the “Act”).  If passed by the House of Representatives, the Act would impose new requirements and limitations on Illinois employers with respect to harassment and discrimination claims.  The following are the Act’s key features. … Continue Reading

Seventh Circuit Limits ADEA Protections for Job Applicants

On January 23, 2019, the Seventh Circuit held that the ADEA’s prohibition of disparate impact discrimination do not extend to job applicants. Kleber v. CareFusion Corp., No. 17-cv-1206. In Kleber, a 58-year-old attorney unsuccessfully applied for a General Counsel position within the Company’s law department. The job posting required applicants to have fewer than seven … Continue Reading

2019 Brings Employment Law Changes for Illinois Employers

As 2018 draws to a close, state and local lawmakers in Illinois have been passing legislation that will further regulate a variety of employers’ practices. Here is a look at what Illinois employers can expect in 2019. New Laws Effective January 1, 2019 Employee Reimbursement for Business Expenses – An amendment to the Illinois Wage … Continue Reading

Illinois Supreme Court To Decide Scope of BIPA

On November 20, 2018, the Illinois Supreme Court heard oral argument on whether a company’s technical violation of the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (“BIPA”) is sufficient to confer standing or whether a plaintiff must allege actual harm resulted from the violation. Rosenbach v. Six Flags Entertainment Corp. et al., No. 123186. The Court’s forthcoming … Continue Reading
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